How learning English can help you get a better job!
1 International English!
English is the language of international communication. According to the British council, English is spoken as a first language by around 375 million people, and as a second language by a further 500 million*. English has official or special status in about 80 countries, and is spoken in another 100, with a total population of over two billion users. On top of that, the British council estimates that over 1 billion people are currently learning English worldwide, and that there will be over 2 billion learners by 2020. In China alone, around 400 million people are studying the subject (according to an article in English Today), with over 100,000 native English speakers teaching there. And in a globalised world, the number of English speakers is only expected to grow.
2 Economic power
English may not be the most widely-spoken language (there are over one billion native Chinese speakers, for example, compared to just 375 million native English ones). However, according to Unicode.org, English speakers live in countries that make up 29.3% of the world’s GDP. So, there’s a lot of economic force behind the global dominance of the language.
3 Business English
English has become the global language of business. When people from different countries get together to do business, they’re more than likely to use English. For example, if a sales executive from Germany, a head of marketing from Korea and a business manager from Mexico hold a meeting, they’ll almost certainly speak in English. As a result, more and more multinational firms are adopting English as their official corporate language. This has been the case at international companies such as German auto giant Daimler, Danish shipping firm AP Moller-Maersk Group, French motor manufacturer Renault, Finnish telecom company Nokia, Korean consumer gadget manufacturer Samsung, and German business software company SAP, to name just a few. This means that all interviews, meetings and internal video conferences in these companies are conducted in English; and any executives who aren’t competent enough have to use interpreters.
4 Growth industries
English is the language of top growth industries such as technology, IT, science, telecommunications, computer science and pharmacy. According to recent data, 95% of the articles in the Science Citation Index were written in English. And of almost 3,000 articles published on biomedical research in 2009, 1,169 (around 40%) came from the United States. On top of that, many of the most prominent and prestigious publications are written and printed in English. These include Nature (an interdisciplinary scientific journal) and The Lancet (a weekly general medical journal), as well as hundreds of others such as The Journal of Finance, The Astrophysical Journal, The Journal of Virology and Health Affairs, to name just a few.
5 International bodies
English is either the main language, or one of a couple of official languages, in most international bodies. For example, The International Civil Aviation Organisation ruled that from 1st January 2008 all Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Crew Members must be proficient in English as a general spoken medium. Similarly, in 1995, the IMO (the International Maritime Organization) designated English as the official language for ship’s captains. Two of the world’s biggest financial centres (London and New York) are in English-speaking countries, and the working language of the International Monetary Fund (the IMF) is English. English is the sole official language of the Commonwealth of Nations (with 53 nations as members), and is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, the International Criminal Court, NATO, Unicef and the International Olympic Committee. English is also often the official language at international events such as the Olympics, the World Cup and Eurovision.
6 Job prospects
A 2010 survey of UK companies showed that companies ranked fluency in a second language as the most important thing after information technology when it comes to finding the right candidate. On top of that, a study by Albert Saiz, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist, found that learning a foreign language can boost your future earnings, and that bilingual people enjoy a 2.8% increase in their average hourly pay. So, learning a language can help you to earn more. But with English there’s an added advantage. In a globalised world, English has become the language of international communication. So, learning the language to a high level will help you get a better job and also provide you with a higher degree of job security as you’ll become more useful to the company where you work. For example, if you’re proficient in English, you’ll be chosen for international negotiations, meetings abroad, or overseas posts, all of which could advance your career, ensure you get a promotion or help you secure a salary increase.
Copyright © 2014 by Hot English Publishing
500 million – language statistics
It’s impossible to verify the figures precisely as the numbers vary significantly. We’ve taken an average from a wide range of sources including the British Council and Wikipedia.
■ a first language n = the language you’ve used since you were born, and the language you use most. Also, “mother tongue”
■ a second language n = a person’s “second language” is a language they learn because it’s used in the area where they live, but it isn’t their mother tongue. For example, in Nigeria, English is a second language
■ official status exp = if a language has “official status”, it’s used in government, law courts, administration, etc. even though most people speak another language
■ a globalised world exp = a world in which people and businesses are all connected, mostly thanks to the internet
■ GDP abbr = an abbreviation of Gross Domestic Product. A country’s GDP is the total value of goods and services produced within a country in a year
■ the Science Citation Index n = a database of science articles that shows which articles are cited (mentioned) in other articles, papers, reports, etc.
■ to rule vb = when someone in authority “rules” that something should happen, they say that it should happen
■ to boost vb = to increase
■ earnings n = the money you earn (get, receive) from your job
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